Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where is the Street?

I'm looking out over a sea of rippling yellow, gold, orange, red and brown, while the rain drops fall in the same colors. Not a psychedelic dream. My lawn and the street. I literally cannot see the street as it is totally covered with leave-fall from the weather of the past few days. Now, some of you might remember posts from earlier in the week, raking leaves, piling leaves, etc. Well, the city picked those up two days ago. You'd never know it, because there are leaves everywhere. Excuse me, wet leaves everywhere because of the rain of the last few days. Lawn guy comes this week, the leaves will be his chore! No way will it dry out enough for us to do the raking before he comes. The one side of our house usually forms a small lake - house is graded to pull this moisture away from the house and the only place for it to drain is this low spot. When we bought the lot, you didn't really notice the grade and the little bump we call "the hill." Our hill is essentially a section of the lot that rises about 6 feet or so. So the builder graded it to pull the wet away and it works, but that low spot - oh well it isn't in the crawl space.

Older daughter got her schedule for her LAST semester of school. Now all she has to do is get through it and she will have that Political Science degree in hand. She is actually looking at opportunities in the area since she has grown to love our little community. We shall see.

Younger daughter also got her schedule for next semester, her first semester back in school in a few years. She's hoping to finish in 2011.

These two young women continually amaze me. They are both talented writers. Both are capable of great things. I'm hoping some day to read published works by both.

Wine-tasting today at the new winery in town's Open House. Looking forward to that!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thirtieth Anniversary & Other Stuff

Not that anyone is celebrating this one - but yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre. I say massacre and not suicide because one-third of the victims were children. They were injected. That is murder not suicide.

So last night DH and I caught the last hour of the anniversary special of it. It seems to me each year, that more information comes out that is even more horrendous than originally thought. This really bothers me, that most of the children could not be identified and that there are 400 people buried in a mass grave in California because they could not be identified.

So all this makes me remember the year our older daughter spent in what we called "the cult." She was in the Masters program that Detroit World Outreach sponsored. She had to pay to participate in this program and I think the so-called Christians who ran this program came near to starving and working these young people to death.

I don't think older daughter ever really realized how we felt about that church of hers. Always, Jonestown was in the back of my mind. I am so glad she had the courage to stay with the masters program through the entire first year, but extremely happy and grateful when she left that awful church.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Late Show

While channel surfing the other night, DH came across a war movie that neither of us had seen. I have to admit, I am sort of addicted to war movies, having watched some of those old WWII era films with my dad when I was a kid. There was a time I probably could have repeated the dialog for "The Enemy Below." This war movie we hadn't seen was "The Great Raid" a 2005 flick starring Benjamin Bratt and Joseph Fiennes. If you haven't seen it rent it, it was great. The story and substory are the US raid on the Cabanatuan POW camp in the Philippines. The prisoners held there were survivors of the Bataan death march, who were either too ill or too old to be of any use to their Japanese captors. The sub story revolves around Margaret Utinsky, who worked for the Red Cross under an assumed passport. Her story parts from the truth, in that her husband was one of the soldiers captured and sent on the Bataan death march, he survived that to die in 1942 in a POW camp. Miss U as she was known worked with the Filipino underground to smuggle drugs to the POWs in Cabanatuan and other camps. She was arrested, tortured, and I won't tell you any more. It was a great movie, based on a real event and for me that is always a winner in a film.

What disturbed me, greatly, were the commercials during this film. I understand the target audience is probably men in the 60+ range, but some of those commercials were scary. Especially the vacuum therapy. They showed the equipment and all I could think of was some cheap guy trying a vacuum cleaner hose instead. Then there were various products to "extend" the enjoyment. I don't see commercials like these on HGTV, that is for darn sure!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It Seemed Like a good Idea At the Time

Picture a one-half acre lot with fifty-three beautiful trees on it. Picture removing 28 of those trees. Now picture building a nice ranch home on the lot. Picture spring and summer. Spring with dogwoods and tulip tree in bloom. Summer with all the trees covered in nice beautiful green leaves. Beautiful, huh?

Are you now picturing fall with those same green leaves turning various shades of purple, red, yellow, orange, rust and brown? You know what happens next, right? FALL. Now, I am sure it is called FALL because all the leaves FALL from the trees onto the roof of the house, into the gutter, and onto the lawn.

So after lunch, and hoping the ground has de-soggified from last weekend's rain, out we go with the leaf blower, rake, tarps to rake up the leaves. Hah! We got the back half done and nothing done on the sides or front before dark set in. Dark is before 5 pm here on the eastern edge of the Central Time Zone.

Makes me wonder if we should have gotten rid of a few more trees! Oh well, maybe we'll finish tomorrow before it rains again!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Walk on the Cold and Hilly Side

My kids have been in the paper many times over the years, honor rolls, scholarships, playground designs and one not so great reason: My youngest has rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosed at the age of 22 and now 26, Andrea has been battling this disease for 4 years now. And if you think I am exaggerating, battle it she has. Rheumatoid arthritis can be an extremely debilitating disease; the treatment for it can also cause other problems.

Again, this year, she is asking for support for The Arthritis Foundation’s Annual Jingle Bell 5K walk/run in Northville, Michigan. This will be her fourth walk, and believe me it is a challenge. I know, because DH and I walked it with her before we moved here. Picture charming Northville, Michigan with all its hills and tree-lined residential streets. Picture walking that with an inch or so of snow on the ground in temperatures well below freezing. If you make it up that first hill, you are already a champ. When you make it up the second hill, you are only about one-quarter through the route. The year we walked it with her, there were children, adults, and I will never forget the two elderly ladies walking the route with their canes, taking a breather ever couple of blocks. In the snow and cold.

This run/walk helps to raise money to search for a cure for RA. Maybe it won't come soon enough to help Andrea, but just maybe it might make life easier for your child or grandchild.

Here is a link to her site: Andrea's Jingle Bell Donation Page.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Save the Rats?

While at one of the art studio/gallery on Saturday during our town's Art Prowl (see Saturday's post), I happened to hear an "artsy" person tell another prowler how she "rescued" a baby rat. I am telling you this was not a "pet" rat, but a garden variety rat. Apparently said baby rat had been abandoned by it's mother, or mother was blessedly (my opinion - not hers) killed. She told how she fed and kept it warm, but she knew that baby rat wanted back out in it's natural environment, so she took it out to her garden and placed it there and sprinkled herbs on it so predators would leave it alone. She had this rat in her house! UGH!

What the ...? There can't be that big of a culture gap between the north and south. Rats are well .. rats. They are vermin, they spread disease. Yeesh. She obviously never saw the movie "Ben."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Music Meme

Lifted from Gathering Dust and Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated.

The song which:

Reminds you of an ex-lover: Annie's Song by John Denver. I have a friend Maggi, who was always jealous that our friend Jeanne (Jean from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie written by Rod McKuen) and I had such nice songs with our names in them and she had Maggie May (Rod Stewart). Anyway, I digress. The song came out in July of 1974 right after I started dating this guy. It was a beautiful song and brings me some nice memories.

Reminds me of an ex-friend: This is an oldie - If they could see me now - would really describe someone I was great friends with in high school. We had a lot in common, the same insecurities, both kind of crazy. I could never figure out why she was so insecure until one day I realized she didn't wear her glasses between classes. Blind as a bat and couldn't see people waving at her or trying to get her attention. I talked her into contacts and she blossomed into a hugely confident person. College and marriage and children grounded her. I miss her.

Makes you cry: I cry most when I am really mad, but heavy bass sounds make me physically ill - does that count?

Makes you laugh: There are two. Neither are "real songs" in that if you didn't grow up listening to Dick Purtan in the Detroit radio market, then you probably wouldn't get them. One is "Liquidate Ohio State" and the other is "They Don't Make Nun Names Like That No More." The first dates back to the old days of Michigan/Ohio State rivalry between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. The other one is credited to Tommy Sharp and the Sharptones.

You never want to hear again: In the Year 2525. Song speaks for itself. Depressing.

Sums up your teenage years: Aquarius. Appropriate since I am an Aquarius. It was also our class song in 1970 (gasp) when I graduated from high school.

You wanted to get married to: We've Only Just Begun. Small wedding, no music. But that is what DH and I both would have chosen.

Songs that make you want to "get it on": The Summer Knows, theme from Summer of 42. Beautiful instrumental.

You like to wake up to: No music thank you. I like quiet in the morning. No talking either.

You like out of your parents' collection: Mitch Miller. The Christmas Album is my favorite and I even own it on CD.

Wouldn't know about if it weren't for a friend: Lots of music that I have no titles for. My kids have pretty eclectic taste - so I would count Gathering Dust a friend (instead of my kid) and say Michael Buble. Did I tell you I am really bad with song titles and artists?

You want at your funeral: We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel. I love it. And maybe American Pie because I am positive both my kids would sing it. They should be able to sing it in their sleep.